Looking at Labor  
WEEKLY UPDATE - FEBRUARY 6, 2017
In This Issue
Political headlines continued to fill the news last week, and while domestic markets declined during mid-week trading, they rebounded on Friday, February 3.[1] Overall, the week showed only modest movement, as the S&P 500 added 0.12%, the NASDAQ was up 0.11% to end at a record high, and the MSCI EAFE grew by 0.01%.[2] The Dow was down by 0.11% but still managed to end above 20,000 after dipping below this benchmark between Tuesday and Thursday.[3]  
So, why did domestic markets perform well on Friday? A better-than-expected jobs report.[4] 

The January Jobs Report

Depending on which survey you look at, economic experts predicted the economy would add an average of between 175,000 and 180,000 jobs in January.[5] Instead, on Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' report showed the economy added 227,000 jobs last month - far higher than predicted.[6] This increase means job growth has continued for 76 months in a row.[7]   

You gain a much clearer picture, however, when you look beyond the big headlines and see what other data tells us. Here's a quick rundown of what we found:

Hourly Earnings Increased, but by a Very Small Margin
Average hourly earnings grew by only 3 cents in January - and showed a 2.5% increase over last year.[8] This monthly growth is less than a third of what we saw in December 2016.[9] However, one industry in particular may have caused these slower gains, as a 1% decrease in financial industry earnings depressed overall wage growth.[10]  

Unemployment Increased, but for a Potentially Positive Reason
When you hear that unemployment increased from 4.7% in December to 4.8% in January, this may sound like bad news.[11] However, a major reason for this increase is that labor force participation grew by 0.2% in January, the first increase in months.[12] In other words, after sitting on the sidelines, more people are now rejoining the labor force and creating additional opportunities for economic growth.[13]  

Jobs Are Available, but Workers May Need Training or Relocation
While labor force participation increased last month, its 62.9% rate is still near the lowest level in decades.[14] According to Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain, approximately 5.5 million jobs remain open in the U.S. - close to a record number.[15] Some of these jobs, such as retail and food service, don't require much training, but they aren't always located near where unemployed workers live. Other jobs in the hot fields of healthcare and technology require training and skills that many workers simply do not have right now.[16] As a result, closing the gap between open jobs and willing workers is a complex challenge for employers and job-searchers alike.

The Bottom Line

The labor market is continuing to improve, but the pace remains slower than what most people would prefer. Nonetheless, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest revisions show that private-sector payrolls have increased for 83 straight months, the longest growth streak since the 1920s.[17]  

How any potential new pro-growth policies affect the labor market remains to be seen, as does how to fill the millions of open jobs available right now. In the meantime, people are working more hours for higher pay than they were this time last year, and job participation is growing.[18]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:
Monday: Labor Market Conditions Index
Tuesday: International Trade
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report
Friday: Import and Export Prices, Consumer Sentiment




Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, S&P Dow Jones Indices and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the SPUSCIG. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

"Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes."

- Benjamin Franklin
Simply Delicious Roast Chicken
 
A hearty classic from famed chef, Thomas Keller

Serves 2 - 4

Ingredients:

1 2 - 3 lb chicken
Kosher salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
2 tsp thyme, minced (optional)
Unsalted butter
Dijon mustard

Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Rinse the chicken and use paper towels to dry it very well inside and out. 
  3. Add salt and pepper to the bird's cavity.
  4. Truss the chicken by tying up its wings and legs.
  5. Cover the skin with salt and add pepper to taste. 
  6. Place the chicken in a sauté or roasting pan.
  7. Put the chicken in the preheated oven.
  8. Roast the chicken for 50 - 60 minutes, until fully cooked.
  9. Add thyme to the pan's juices and baste the chicken with this liquid.
  10. Carve chicken and slather meat with butter. 
  11. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from   Epicurious.com[19]

Protect Your Health With Good Sleep Habits

We all know that getting enough sleep is important, but the side effects of insufficient rest include much more than feeling tired or not having enough energy. Missing sleep can throw off your circadian rhythm, which helps to regulate your brain and body systems. As a result, you may experience a variety of negative symptoms, including increased blood pressure and decreased working memory.

As you age, your brain takes longer to adjust after insufficient rest. What can you do to avoid sleep-deprivation in the first place? Start by following these three tips:

1. Get Adequate Rest. Aim to get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep each night, but strive for 7 to 8, which is a more optimal range. Also, focus on going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

2. Readjust to Different Time Zones. When you travel to a new time zone, you can throw off your body's circadian rhythm. Help yourself adjust more quickly by being in bright morning light. Go outside when you wake up, and consider walking for an hour while you're there.

3. Treat Sleep Disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea becomes more common as you age. This sleep disorder causes you to stop breathing while asleep, and then wake up - disrupting your rest. If you suspect that you or your partner may have sleep apnea, consider talking to your doctor about a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which will help regulate breathing.

 Tip courtesy of AARP[22]
Easy Ways to Reduce Your Pollution Impact at Home

1. Swap Liquid Soap for Bar Soap: Liquid soap is harming the planet. Producing liquid soap uses 5 times more energy for raw materials than bar soap and 20 times more energy for the packaging. By switching to a bar, you will also use nearly 7 times less product, decreasing your consumption impact.

2. Wash Laundry and Run Dishwasher at Night Instead of During the Day: Every time you run the washer and dryer or the dishwasher, the machines create heat and humidity, causing your AC to pump harder in warmer months. Try washing items during off-peak hours, typically after 8 pm. You can also go a step further and hang your clothes to line dry or use low dryer settings.

3. Replace Coffee Pods with Traditional Coffee Maker: The #7 plastic used in each coffee pod container is often not recyclable. As a result, every single pod not recycled ends up filling our landfills. With billions of coffee pods sold each year, switching to a traditional coffee maker can make a huge difference in limiting your environmental impact.

Tip courtesy of Real Simple[23]
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